While COVID-19 is still on the brain for Canadians, Disney Cruise Line is looking towards an elaborate return to the travel experience in 2022 with the Disney Wish ship, which looks like a fairytale castle on the sea — plus Marvel superheroes.
The Disney Wish will sail on its five-night maiden voyage to Nassau, Bahamas and Disney’s private island Castaway Cay, on June 9, 2022, followed by three- and four-night cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida to the same destinations. The ship has 1,254 staterooms and 451 connecting rooms for larger families. Disney will begin taking bookings on May 27 and cruises will depart from June 2022 to September 2022.
Led by Captain Minnie Mouse (for the first time), the design theme for the fifth ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet is "enchantment," which especially evident in the Grand Hall or even the Sleeping Beauty themed Princess Aurora Royal Suites and Briar Rose Royal Suites, which have an impressive two-floor option with a spiral staircase.
"The Grand Hall, it really does have a special place in my heart and I think it's because it is the heart of the ship, and there is just so much magic and enchantment that happens within this space," Denise Case, director of entertainment creative for Disney Cruise Line said at a media panel on Thursday. "It does such a wonderful job of telling the story of Cinderella, I mean you really feel the enchantment, you really feel the motif."
Case added that she wants families to feel like they "never want to leave the ship," and no, not because of a frightening virus outbreak but because she wants guests to truly feel "pampered."
What activities, entertainment and food will be available on the Disney Wish cruise?
COVID-19 may have halted cruise plans but it hasn't stunted the imagination of Walt Disney Imagineering with many experiences that have never been seen before. But don't worry, the ship will still have the fan-favourite self-serve ice cream machines.
These are some of the activities, entertainment and dining options on the Disney Wish cruise:
Disney’s Oceaneer Club: Parents will be able to send kids ages three to 12 "down the rabbit hole" on a slide into the Oceaneer Club to do arts and crafts, dress up, play games and watch Disney movies. Each child will get a Oceaneer band to extend the game play over the the course of the whole cruise, at their own pace.
Marvel Super Hero Academy: In Disney’s Oceaneer Club, there will be an Avengers headquarters where "recruits" train to be the next generation of super heroes with characters like Spider-Man, Black Panther, Ant-Man and the Wasp. Kids will choose a super hero suit from a selection of power sets and watch their choices become nanotech forms around mannequins in real-time.
Walt Disney Imagineering Lab: Also part of Disney’s Oceaneer Club, this is a "makers space" where kids can participate in hands-on activities to learn how Disney Imagineers design theme parks, resorts and cruise ships. Kids can design their own roller coaster and ride it in a large screen setting.
AquaMouse: This is the first Disney attraction at sea with 760 feet of winding tubes and 60 water effects. Guests board their two-seater ride vehicles and move into a tunnel, transporting them into the world of “Scuba Scramble,” a new animated short that plays through oversized virtual portholes.
Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge: A bar-style lounge, immersive adult experience designed like Dryden Vos’ ship in Solo: A Star Wars Story as a more "sophisticated" side of Star Wars, with famous space ships from locations like Batuu, Tatooine, Mustafar and Coruscant.
Worlds of Marvel: The first-ever Marvel dining experience where guests will play an interactive role in an Avengers mission that unfolds around them, with a menu inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure: Frozen-themed dining with hosts Elsa and Olaf, live entertainment and theatre-in-the-round, all with Nordic-inspired cuisine.
Enchanté by Chef Arnaud Lallement: The ship's most luxuirous dining offering with a French-inspired menu crafted by three-Michelin-starred Chef Arnaud Lallement.
Quiet Cove: An adults-only lounge area with an infinity pool that has panoramic views of the ocean.
Luna: Described as the "town square" of the ship, Luna is an entertainment gathering space with an LED screen wall and full-service bar that transitions from entertainment for the whole family during the day, to adult-exclusive entertainment at night.
How is Disney Cruise Line addressing COVID-19 concerns?
Disney, at this point, isn't saying much about particular safety measures that will be in place on the Disney Wish. Largely, we suspect, because no one knows what kind of COVID-19 regulations will have to be in effect in 2022.
All the images of what the experience might look like come with a disclaimer that they do not represent the health and safety measures that "may be in place during future sailing, such as face coverings and physical distancing."
We do have some insight into possible additional measures that could still be required when the Disney Wish sets sail. In order to board the Disney Magic at Sea staycation cruise, essentially a cruise to nowhere for people in the U.K. this summer, all guests age 18 and older must be fully vaccinated. Younger guests need to take a PCR COVID-19 test before leaving home and all guests must go through an antigen COVID-19 rapid test prior to boarding.
Face coverings are also required for anyone over the age of 11, with reduced guest capacity to allow for more physical distancing and multiple health screenings while on board (temperatutre checks and health questionnaries). Self-service buffets have also been temporarily paused.
The big reveal of the Disney Wish came on the same day it was reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that the U.S. cruise industry could resume voyages in mid-July.